On Common Grounds with President Petillo

By Mary O’Connell

Staff Reporter

Recently, President Petillo has started his own sit down show called “On Common Grounds,” where he interviews a variety of Sacred Heart University students. The interviews take place at Holy Grounds Cafe, the student-run coffeehouse located in Christian Witness Commons. So far, he has had three episodes and interviewed six people total.

“It started about three or four weeks ago when I had the idea about it. I shared it with Mike Iannazzi, Vice President of Communications. I thought it would be a good way to highlight some students involved in different aspects of community life,” said Petillo.

Iannazzi thought “On Common Grounds” was a good idea as well, and got on board with the show.

“We want to try and touch on as many areas of student life as we can. We’ve looked for members of student government, athletes, performing arts, greek life, etc. The specific students we’ve picked so far are often leaders in their areas and recommended to us. We’ve only just began to scratch the surface of the diversity of interests in our student body,” said Iannazzi.

The students that are featured on Petillo’s show come from all ends of student life at Sacred Heart. So far, he has interviewed students such as the student government president, a hockey captain, a student from the women’s basketball team, the student who runs Holy Grounds, and a member of the SHUpermen all-male choral ensemble.

In his first episode, Petillo featured the Student Government President, Addison Chau.

“He had mentioned to me earlier in the year that he was planning a project where he would interview students on campus and would like me to be a part of it. We are very lucky to have the president of our university take time to acknowledge the students here on campus. Dr. Petillo isn’t doing these interviews for himself, but for everyone else to get a glimpse into the life of Sacred Heart students,” said Chau.

From the interview, it was learned that Chau ended up at the university by chance due to the fact that he originally applied because a friend recommended the physical therapy program to him. He is now an English major pursuing graduate school for higher education administration and discovered his passion though coming to Sacred Heart.

Learning interesting facts like this about Sacred Heart students is why Petillo enjoys doing “On Common Grounds.”

As for why he decided upon having the interviews set in Holy Grounds Cafe, Petillo wanted to give the spot some good publicity. To him, the coffeehouse is one of the nicest, coziest places on campus that is underutilized.

Episodes of “On Common Grounds” can be found on YouTube as well as the official Sacred Heart website, Facebook, and Twitter.

“I’m just hoping students and others will look at it to see the richness of the student body here. Hopefully this catches some people’s attention. I think for someone outside the community, it will give them a glimpse of who we are, and for parents, it will also show the passion that these students have for the institution and one another,” said Petillo.

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